Strike a pose – the experts on how to get your child into yoga –

Yoga has been a lockdown lifeline for millions of people. Adults discovered Adriene Mishler, an American yoga instructor whose free YouTube channel surged in popularity during the first lockdown. Children discovered Cosmic Kids, a joyous kids’ yoga app that went mainstream amid the pandemic.

he benefits of yoga are the same for children as they are for adults. And as kids’ yoga classes pop up all over the country, the practice is now more accessible to children than ever before.

Meanwhile, a growing number of children are practising yoga in school. They have the full support of President Michael D. Higgins, who recently said he’d like to see yoga taught to schoolchildren across Ireland.

Children’s yoga and mindfulness has proven benefits. It increases their strength and flexibility but it also improves mental wellbeing and promotes self-regulation. By practising yoga poses, children learn to manage anxiety and cope with stress.

“Kids are so approachable when it comes to yoga and mindfulness,” says Kildare-based kids’ yoga teacher Jelena Slicker of Ella Bella Yoga. “They’re still creating their pathways whereas we as adults have already created our habits.”

Jelena regularly practises yoga with her five-year-old daughter Ella and says it has helped her little girl express her feelings and manage her emotions, particularly during the pandemic.

“She can go from being really happy-go-lucky to having a full meltdown and this is where our little magic tricks of breathing come in,” she says.


Sarah Cahill of Play Like Apes demonstrates a yoga pose with her daughter Ellen

Sarah Cahill of Play Like Apes demonstrates a yoga pose with her daughter Ellen

Kildare-based kids’ yoga teacher Sarah Cahill of Play Like Apes had a similar experience with her daughters Ellen and Lucy, who started practising yoga when they were in pre-school. “Lucy is sensitive and reactive and I could really see the benefits of the breathing exercises. Now she’s able to focus on her breath and then she can express herself.”

Don’t know your downward dog from your pigeon pose? Don’t worry. We spoke to kids’ yoga teachers across the country to find out how parents can get started.

Explain it to them in age-appropriate language

Children will naturally want to know what yoga is and why they’re doing it. But it’s better to keep explanations simple and child-friendly. “We definitely don’t get too technical when we explain it to kids,” says Sarah. “I always tell them that the word yoga means ‘union’ so it’s not just one thing. It’s a couple of different things. I tell them that while we move our bodies, we’ll also focus on breathing and then there’s an element of relaxation and mindfulness.”

Alignment doesn’t …….


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